May 2, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Kushner and Freedom Caucus to meet over bipartisan prison reform bill

Rep. Mark Meadows stand in a dark suit with his arms crossed with two dark figures on either side in the foreground

Rep. Mark Meadows. Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Jared Kushner is meeting with the House Freedom Caucus early next week to discuss the bipartisan Collins-Jeffries prison reform bill, HFC Chairman Mark Meadows told Axios.

The big picture: Despite considering himself "the least supportive of criminal justice reform" among his Freedom Caucus colleagues, Meadows said the Collins-Jeffries bill "seems to have found a sweet spot."

"At the end of the day, it has the potential to be one of the first truly bipartisan bills that addresses a legislative matter that’s been outstanding for some time."
— Rep. Mark Meadows

Context: Although some details are still being haggled over, which led to a postponement of the bill's markup last week, the Collins-Jeffries bill focuses on rehabilitating prisoners through educational programs, vocational training and therapy to reduce recidivism rates. It does not address federal sentencing guidelines.

The bottom line: The Freedom Caucus has been historically divided over criminal justice reform, and Meadows says that some more work must be done. But, overall, he believes there is an open mind to find common ground and move the bill forward as long as sentencing reforms are not included.

Yes, but: The real issue is whether House Democrats are willing to get board.

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